From hyaluronic to lactic and glycolic, chances are you’ll already have an acid toner or acid exfoliating liquid in your routine. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t make room for one more. Enter tranexamic acid, the new powerhouse ingredient that promises to treat pigmentation caused by acne scarring and sun exposure.
You might be familiar with tranexamic acid as tablet medication to reduce excessive bleeding ( heavy period people , we see you), but it’s more recently been used in skincare, most commonly as a serum - unlike other acids which you'll find in toners and peels.
Tranexamic acid has a powerful anti-inflammatory action used to treat hyperpigmentation and melasma. “Tranexamic acid reduces the production of melanin, the pigment that makes our skin darker and can cause discolouration,” says aesthetic doctor Dr Pamela Benito.
It's safe to wear in the sun (also SPF at all times, just sayin') and can be used both morning and night. Look for two to five per cent tranexamic acid in your products for it to be worthwhile, says Dr Benji Dhillon, co-founder of the Define Clinic .
Once it’s firmly ensconced in your routine you should see a difference between two and three months, says Dr Dhillon. The good news is there are no known side-effects.
Unlike some skincare which doesn’t react well with others ( retinol , we’re looking at you), tranexamic acid is one of the friendliest ingredients out there and pairs especially well with vitamin C and kojic acid, which are also effective known pigment brighteners. "Combining it with vitamin C or kojic acid maximises its brightening power, ensuring you get the most out of the ingredient. Also, if you are already using a hydroquinone product for skin lightening, you can add a product with tranexamic acid and potentially see even better results," says Dr Benito.
Is tranexamic acid suitable for pregnancy?
“Women who are pregnant often experience dark spots due to an overproduction of melanin,” says Dr Benito. “While tranexamic acid can help reduce this discolouration, due to the systemic absorption following topical administration of tranexamic acid, it is not recommended during pregnancy and avoidance might be the safest option.”